It comes at random. The second-guessing. The self-shaming. Today we were driving to pick up dog food, and I look over at the passenger seat at the school schedules for the coming year.
Let me give you some background. Somehow, N ended up with band on his schedule. When we picked the schedules up at the school the other night, I was pretty shocked to see he had band on his schedule when I had no intention of buying (or even renting) an instrument this year. Yes, we did band last year but the whole “rent through the school” racket is just that – a racket. So he traded band for football P.E., which is fine, because he likes to work out. Mind you the boy has played one year of flag football. That’s it. But he wants to be in football P.E.. Whatevs.
Back to reality. We’re in the car, driving to get dog food and my mind is on how this P.E. class is going to go, and I start thinking about other sports he’s done – fencing, soccer, karate – that could help him with his desire to play sports now.
My mind goes back to a moment in time when he first tried wrestling.
He was frustrated, head down, baby blue singlet, shaking hands with his opponent but determined to do his best. And here I am, second-guessing past me like it’s my job. Looking back, I can see where I should have picked up on the signs of Asperger’s – they were there even then. I should have noticed. He would be so much more advanced if I’d have known. I could have gotten him help sooner.
Lord, why didn’t I see it?
And the answer whispered right back into my heart.
You didn’t see the autism because you only saw your son. No labels. You saw HIM, not what he could or couldn’t do, and you loved him for who he was.
It’s true. Before the diagnosis it’s just who he was, without labels, just loved.
Last week I was supposed to go to a writer’s conference. I’d waited years to go. I had all the right publishing appointments lined up during the event. Took time off work. Everything was lined up. But for whatever reason, I wasn’t meant to go. I came down with a stomach bug before the start of the conference, and then an allergic reaction to the recovery medicine – I never made it to the conference.
For days afterward I questioned God. And I know we’re not supposed to question God. But I did. Why set everything up perfectly for me to go, just to have me stay home? How would I ever get a book deal if I didn’t go to this conference? And what good is a writer if nobody’s reading her writing? I felt my dreams slipping through my fingers as I tried to figure out what purpose I had and if this was God’s way of saying He was through with me.
But in the car on a random Friday headed to pick up dog food, the Lord repeated those same words into my heart for me that He’d just whispered for N.
You didn’t see labels for N because all you had was love. You saw him for him, the way you love him, not the way the world sees him.
That’s the way I see you.
No labels. No accomplishments. Not what you have or haven’t done. No checklist of accomplishments could make me love you more or less. I love you for who you are.
A child is not their diagnosis.
A writer is not just the sum of her followers or the varied list of publishing accomplishments.
And you are not the loss, heartbreak, or to-do list you think you are.
We are all… simply loved by an Almighty God.
Cheering for you,